Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 25 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations takes its show on the road this week, as Shino's class visits the Hidden Mist Village. Although a lot has changed in the 15 years following the Fourth Shinobi World War, this is the first time the audience has seen how other hidden villages are dealing with prolonged peace. Not only does episode 25 give us a glimpse of the world outside of the Hidden Leaf, it marks the show's return to being an ensemble action-comedy. As great as the Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring adaptation was, many of the show's key players were notably absent, and it feels good to get reacquainted with them.
Since the war's been over for nearly two decades, Naruto and Iruka decide that it's finally time for the Academy's class trips to extend outside the Land of Fire. As such, Shino's class will visit the Hidden Mist Village, with Boruto serving as class leader for the duration of the excursion. (Sarada only nominated him for this position in the hopes that it would keep him out of trouble.) Upon arriving at their destination, the class is greeted by Kagura Karatachi, a trusted aide to the Mizukage who's been tasked with acting as the group's tour guide. Despite initially being led to believe that the village was extremely rural and behind the times, Boruto and company are surprised to discover that it's even more modern than the Hidden Leaf. Before long, Iwabe, who's been acting suspiciously disdainful of the Hidden Mist Village, wanders off, and Sarada insists that Boruto and Denki go find him. After tracking Iwabe down, the boys inadvertently run afoul of two local thugs named Hassaku and Shizuma, who both display considerable strength. Shizuma even knows about Boruto and oddly informs him that he has “nice eyes.” As the men make their exit, the entire village is engulfed in an ominous mist.
As the Hidden Mist Village was the home of Boruto's father's first serious adversary, it's fitting that it would be the destination for Boruto's first trip abroad. Although the trip has mostly served as a vehicle for lighthearted fun thus far, it's a foregone conclusion that something sinister is afoot. Hassaku and Shizuma will undoubtedly resurface, and it wouldn't be shocking to discover that Kagura isn't actually one of the good guys. (After all, trusted royal advisers in these stories are almost always traitors.) We're also bound to discover the root of Iwabe's hatred for the Hidden Mist Village. Does he have a personal connection to the village, or is the show trying to make a point about how difficult it can be to dispel long-held prejudices?
After a story arc that was largely built around a single character, seeing Boruto and his classmates interact with one another again is a fun change of pace. However, now that the core group of seven-or-so students has been fleshed out, more of the kids ought to also receive some development. For example, the bald kid dressed in stereotypical shinobi garb, the goth loli girl, and the girl with animal arms all strike me as characters who could make interesting additions to the usual ensemble instead of acting as mere window-dressing.
Sending Boruto and company outside of the Hidden Leaf is an interesting direction for the series to take. The war may be over, but as we've seen, its memory is still fresh in the minds of many shinobi, which will presumably serve as the impetus for the story that unfolds. Although it's still too early to deem this new arc a success or failure, its introductory episode has done a solid job of setting up the new location, characters, and conflict.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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